Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place! These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...
The Workbench Diary
Today, Kyle and the boys and I started milling up some of the timbers for the studio. We made pretty good progress but didn’t get the whole load finished. We have more work days planned. It was a tiring day and I am ready for bed.
Yesterday I had to make a tool run up to my backyard antique tool shop. Since Eden had plans to be watched, we decided that Julia and I would make a date out of it. I don’t know if it’s because we haven’t had an official date for months now or if she really is coming around to be a tool lover, but she remarked several times during the shopping trip, “This place is awesome!” Oh my. I am a blessed man. I never thought I would hear my wife sing the praise of antique tool shopping!
But she’s right. This place is awesome. Owned by the same owner of the legendary Liberty Tool Company, the Hull’s Cove Tool Barn is not to be missed. I’ve been coming here for the past years to purchase most all of my tools. The condition of the tools varies but most are usable after a quick sharpening. The prices are amazing and the inventory turnover is regular. This shop is smaller than the three story 19th century Liberty Tool company building, but the items in stock in Hull’s Cove are all high quality.
Julia and I really scored this time. We got some great garden tools and a load of woodworking tools for a few dollars apiece. To cap off the morning date, Julia and I continued down the road a few minutes into downtown Bar Harbor and got lunch at Geddy’s, always a good stop.
In homestead news, we have been hard at work on seed planting, mud oven and beehive constructing, and we have been working out the kinks in our sourdough baking. We spent the other day over at our friends’ place, Tinder Hearth Bakery. Tim and Lydia were gracious to help us fine tune our recipe for our soon-to-be-built mud oven.
Finally, we planted a Winter Gravenstein apple tree from Five Star Nursery this week. We had been planning to plant a fruit tree in commemoration God’s faithfulness and goodness to us during that rollercoaster of a pregnancy four and a half years ago.
We dug the hole, filled in the fish emulsion and compost and followed the planting recommendations from Five Star. We also were happy to thaw the placenta from Eden’s birth, patiently waiting in the freezer for four years. Many cultures have used the placenta rather than discard it: everything from planting it under a fruit tree to indigenous peoples eating it. Since we are weak-stomached westerners, we left the place settings in the cupboard and opted for the spade shovel.
Okay… so maybe you suspected we were hippies. Consider your suspicions confirmed.
The simplest, cleanest way I know to do this is to use small Ziploc freezer bags cut into quarters. Take one of the corners and open it up like a cup so that so can place equal parts of A and B into the pouch.
After they are dispensed, twist the bag right above the epoxy and begin to knead the two parts together. 10-20 seconds of regular kneading is about all you should need.
Now that you have a fully mixed epoxy, make a small hole at the tip of the pouch, and you can control the adhesive application easily without any mess.
Once you have the area glued and clamped, you can use this bag to refer back to feel if the mix is hardened yet. If it hardened in the bag, it’s hardened in the repair.
One caveat here: I do not recommend using non reversible adhesives like epoxy in joinery! Do not squirt epoxy or gorilla glue or super glue, etc where tenon meets mortise or the like. This has serious implications for the ability the object to be repaired in the future. For joinery in antique furniture, do yourself and the object a favor and go get a little brown bottle of Franklin’s liquid hide at the hardware store before you reglue your grandmother’s rocking chair.
After working the most gorgeous week of the year on the most gorgeous private island in Maine (no seriously… check this place out > Nautilus Island), Mike and the boys came over on Saturday for some tree felling fun. Mike did most of the felling, Casey did the limbing, Kyle ran the excavator for brush and lifting the logs onto the trailer, and I… well, I walked around with a tape measure and cut list directing traffic. I worked through my plans several times over making sure I had a complete list of all the pieces I need. There are about 150 pieces to the frame including braces, purlins, joists, etc. Having not done a project like this from standing trees to complete finish, I was a bit nervous about knowing just which pieces to select for each timber.
Jon Ellsworth has been helpful to me in our discussions about what to look for in size of tree. I trust Jon’s advice. He takes his draft horses up into the woods behind my current studio pretty frequently and takes down trees that he brings to a local sawyer for all the frames he builds. He’s been doing this a long time. I will truly miss hearing the clack clacking of the horses on the road and the subsequent chainsaw in the distance while I am working.
Julia had been busy all week preparing food for the big day. After french press coffee and country store donuts in the morning, we devoured her burritos for lunch, and grilled barbeque chicken with homemade macaroni for dinner. It was so amazing. Thank you Julia!
On occasion throughout the day, Julia would bring Eden up to watch the work from a distance. He, of course, loved it. He frequently talks about how he wants to be like Kyle and run an excavator or like uncle Mike with a chainsaw.
I think the first highlight of the day (besides the sweet fellowship of my brothers) was the take down of the large spruce tree for my 24’ 7 x 7 tie beam in the center bent. All the rest of the 24’ spans I will end up scarf jointing, but this beam is a little more critical. It was pretty cool watching these guys take this down so efficiently. After a little struggle, Kyle’s excavator finally loaded that beast onto the trailer. Cheers abounded as he laid it in place.
The second highlight was the take down of the smallest tree. First Mike, as a professional arborist, put on his climbing gear and worked his way to the top. We had a crew of three guys pulling on the rope from below as he cut the top off. Finally, Casey notched and took down the rest with a little help from the excavator. It was nothing short of ridiculous. And good fun for the end of a long tiring day.
We got the trailers loaded to capacity and only had about a third of what was needed. The plan from here is that Kyle and I will very soon mill what we’ve got and we’ll schedule another work day to get the rest. Next time we will have more hauling capacity so that we can hopefully get the remainder in this second load.
I am so thankful to have such an awesome family. Mike, his brother-in-law Kyle, and Kyle’s brother Casey were so generous to offer their help on this project. I am indebted greatly to these dear brothers and I look forward to helping them fulfill their each of their dreams someday. Thank you, guys. Thank you.
“I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.” - William Coperthwaite
So, if you remember, the sitework (driveway, parking area, pad) was completed in fall and left in that state until the spring thaw. Not that nothing was being worked on this winter… I have been rolling around ideas and exploring new opportunities for building. The result of the winter’s contemplation is that I have decided to build the studio as a timber frame from trees on my property.
There is somewhat of a local legend about the eccentric character that owned our property for many years before us. Among the many things he has come to be known for covering his acreage with red pines is one of the most oft repeated. Today, these trees’ usability have peaked and they will begin dying off in a few years: Now is a perfect time for the harvesting. What better way is there to honor the memory of the former steward of our land than build a workshop from his trees?
The past month or so I have been working and re-working designs for the frame. I have met with a couple of local timber framers (Jon Ellsworth and Jim Bannon (http://www.villagegreentimberframes.com/) to discuss and review my plans making sure I have not overlooked anything. Since I am new at timber framing, I want to make sure that I do this smart. I am sure I could cobble something together that could last my lifetime with any old method of construction but I figure I might as well engineer it well so that it could last 200+ years like all the old frames still standing around my neighborhood. Maybe then my children’s children’s children will have something to inherit.
We plan to harvest and mill the timbers a little over a week from now. I will have my brother in law and friends help again like before. Kyle, the one with access to the bandsaw mill, has already brought back the boards from the fall’s cutting and they look great. When he comes down this next time he will be bringing 1,500 bd/ft more pine for walls, floors, sheathing, etc. Because I plan to build the shop without any plywood, I'm gonna need a lot of board feet of this stuff.
What’s timber framing?
Timber Framing (or Post and Beam) is a building method from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Rather than using the conventional method of nominal 2” lumber butt jointed and nailed, this method involves large (6” x 6” – 8” x 8”) wooden beams joined together with mortise and tenons, dovetails, or lap joints all pegged with wooden pegs. (Visualize the inside of an old barn). These are the buildings that have survived in the UK since the 16th century when they were erected.
How long will this take me, you ask? Good question. Since I have a full schedule, I want to do this over time. Our summers involve gardening for the year’s food supply, running a furniture restoration business, and other various property improvements that also must be attended to. All that considered, my goal is to have a traditional frame raising at the end of October. This should give me about 6 months to cut the joinery.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Thomas Jefferson
So what’s going on now?
So right now I am tweaking the plans, assembling the cut list, buying and (refurbishing) the tools needed. Providentially, a friend of my wife’s is tearing down a house on their property and has offered some materials to be reused for my studio. I have collected 8 or 9 square of R-30 Fiberglass insulation, 10 excellent shape double pane sash windows, and two wooden doors (one 36” and the other 30”). This will greatly help the process along. (Thank you very much Douglas and Tammy!)
Until this past fall, my adult life had been transitory. School, job changes, and pregnancy have sent us around the country from one rental place to another. It was not until this past fall that we actually had a place to call our own. My former mentality had been to do projects cheap and simple because we weren’t going to be here that long. It finally dawned on me a couple months ago: this ‘cheap and dirty’ mentality is not going to cut it anymore. We are finally here on our own property. We are putting roots down for a lifetime of living. Because I am not yet even thirty years old, I need to be planning for long term solutions. Any building I put up I want to be confident I can get at least 75 years out of it… and 200 would be even better.
A Brief Postscript...
Our greenhouse which has supplied us unfailingly all winter with fresh greens just exploded with leafy foliage. Julia has been hard at work planting seeds: Onions, radishes, leeks, celery, various peppers, tomatoes, peas, lettuce, mesculen, spinach, thyme, sage, parsley, and oregano are welcome additions to our chard and kale wintered over from last year’s garden. I think this girl is addicted.
First to rive the stock with the froe...
He loves working with Papa.
Roughly round it out with a hatchet
Finish the rough rounding with the drawknife on my shaving horse
Now for the lathe
I am turning two pulleys out of a single piece
Don't forget the wheels!
Stained and oiled
I think my wife is happy.
If she's happy, I'm happy.
Finished the candlestand. Oil-based pigmented stain, Timber Mate partial pore fill, orange waxy flattened shellac. Rubbed out with Liberon #0000 steel wool and Mohawk Bristol Cream Polish.
I am happy with the results but, because this project began on a whim, coordinating it with our bed didn't cross my mind. Needless to say this elegant high style piece looks ridiculous next to our homely rope bed. (I'm using it as a bedside table.) Oh well. Guess we'll have to build a pencil post one of these days...
After a few passes with a smoothing plane, I finished up the top surface with a cabinet scraper.
Laid out the top
Marking gauge to the proper thickness of the top.
Beginning to thickness with a scrub plane: First down to the marking gauge line on all four sides and then across grain in the middle.
Finished up the underside with a finely set jack plane.
Cleaned up edges with spokeshave followed by sandpaper.
Legs sanded and waiting glue-up.
Finally the glue!
Fitting the battens to the underside of the top.
Pivoting action. Walnut pin to keep the top locked into place.
Carving at the base of the pedestal. (You're looking at it upside down)
Finished and "in the white". Now it's time for color, grain fill, and shellac!
Working on two tables on a time has been fun. This first one is a Connecticut River Valley Queen Anne walnut candlestand. My pole lathe has worked beautifully for the pedestal turning.
Gluing up the top
Cutting the sliding dovetails into the pedestal.
The classic Queen Anne cabriole leg with slipper foot.
Standing sans top
And these guys are for Eden's tavern table. Now for their mortises!